Staying healthy this winter

SoupWinter need not be the unhealthiest season of the year for you and your family. You can stay fit and healthy, even when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Dress accordingly

Winter produces damp conditions, which may leave you feeling extremely cold. Dressing warmly in winter will help you to adjust to the freezing temperatures. Whether it is raining, snowing or windy outside, you should wear several layers of clothing to protect yourself against the cold.

Proper footwear is also prudent, not only to protect your feet against the cold but also to avoid slipping and falling on wet or icy surfaces. If you suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition that makes your fingers and toes become painful and discoloured in cold weather, always put on warm socks, shoes and gloves before venturing out in cold weather.

Protect yourself against winter health risks

Some health problems, such as colds, flu and sore throats, are triggered or worsened by the cold weather. To help ward off common winter ailments, wash your hands regularly. In doing so, you will destroy any germs you may have picked up from surfaces that have been touched by others, such as door handles, handrails and light switches.

If you are aged 65 or over or live with a long-term health condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease, you may wish to consider getting the seasonal flu vaccine. It provides protection against the flu and its complications. If you are unlucky enough to fall ill, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. However, as doctors’ surgeries are always busy during the winter months, you may find it difficult to see a doctor quickly.

Continue to eat healthily

When it is cold and dark outside, you may be more tempted to stock up on unhealthy food. However, it is important to ensure that you continue to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. You may consider incorporating winter vegetables, such as turnips, carrots and parsnips, into hearty winter meals that your whole family will enjoy. If ice and snow are due to arrive, fill your cupboards with non-perishable food items so that you will be able to rest safe in the knowledge that you have enough food to survive until the roads are clear.

Stay hydrated

Proper hydration is as essential in the winter as it is in the summer. This means that you should continue to drink plenty of liquids, even if you do not feel thirsty. When the weather is dry and damp, you will not only lose water through breathing. Your body will also work harder under the weight of several layers of clothing.

Winter can be a beautiful time of the year but it can pose its own set of unique challenges. By planning ahead of time and using your common sense, it is possible to stay well in winter.

If you do fall ill this winter and need to see a specialist, a membership with means you get to see the right consultant and help you beat your condition quicker.

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